REVITALIZING the Humanistic Imperative in Nursing Education

By Kleiman, Susan | Nursing Education Perspectives, July/August 2007 | Go to article overview

REVITALIZING the Humanistic Imperative in Nursing Education

Kleiman, Susan, Nursing Education Perspectives


This article describes a teaching strategy that focuses students' attention on the humanistic imperative in nursing practice. The Humanistic Teaching Method provides a framework for adapting nursing courses to accommodate person-to-person, human-centered nursing care alongside scientific and technological competencies. Through this approach, students integrate concepts such as humanism, existentialism, and phenomenology into patient interactions. In addition to producing a favorable effect on patients and colleagues, this approach contributes to personal gratification in making a difference in the lives of others. Pedagogical strategies currently in use may need to be modified to accommodate the humanistic conceptual framework.

Key Words Humanism - Existentialism - Phenomenology - Humanistic Teaching

ALL STUDENTS, ON THEIR FIRST DAY OF CLASS IN NURSING SCHOOL, are introduced to the maxim that nursing is a service profession responsible to society to provide competent, skilled, and humane care. This maxim is echoed in nurse practice acts, codes of ethics, social policy statements, and standards of practice, all of which focus on nurses' obligations to provide competent patient care and attend to patients' human responses to health care needs. From this starting point, nursing curricula evolve around a technically focused set of courses, including fundamentals, medical-surgical, psychiatricmental health nursing, anatomy and physiology, microbiology, pharmacology, and courses specifically designed to teach critical thinking skills. In these courses, the emphasis is on illnesses, systems, organs, and pathology. Learning objectives center around specified sets of interventions that have been tried in the past with varying degrees of success or failure. * For the most part, although not entirely, the learning activities of these courses are fact and skill oriented. Students are required to learn parameters of normal values, identify and describe signs and symptoms, calculate or verify medication dosages, and demonstrate skills such as taking blood pressure, giving injections, doing sterile dressings, suctioning, and catheterization. Supplementary are lessons in interpersonal and communications skills intended, in large part, to enable students to collect health histories and obtain physical examination data that they will analyze according to the nursing process in order to formulate a care plan. The content of these lessons and the myriad details learned from them can be characterised as scientific knowledge, that is, knowledge that can be demonstrated, taught, and consequently learned.

* Where does the NURSING STUDENT LEARN the human-centered aspects of patient care? How does the nursing student learn to provide the necessary response to the health-related needs of the PATIENT IN A HUMANISTIC MANNER?

The Humanistic Teaching Model Responding to the imbalance that exists between the scientific/technological and humanistic imperatives in nursing education and practice, the author formulated and tested the Humanistic Teaching Model at a large university in New York City. This involved reconceptualizing several core nursing courses within the humanistic teaching framework, including Foundations, Nursing as a Human Science, and Psychiatric Mental Health, both in the classroom and in clinical settings. Students were generic undergraduate students, graduate students, and registered nurses studying for their baccalaureate degrees.

Each course adhered to the Humanistic Teaching Model despite differences in theoretical and clinical content. Based on the academic level and characteristics of the students, there were also differences in depth and content of topical materials. Notwithstanding these differences, all classes responded in the same way to this new teaching method.

Teaching Within the Basic Structure of the Model The Humanistic Teaching Model is organized under the constructs of humanism, existentialism, and phenomenology. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

REVITALIZING the Humanistic Imperative in Nursing Education


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

    New feature

    It is estimated that 1 in 10 people have dyslexia, and in an effort to make Questia easier to use for those people, we have added a new choice of font to the Reader. That font is called OpenDyslexic, and has been designed to help with some of the symptoms of dyslexia. For more information on this font, please visit

    To use OpenDyslexic, choose it from the Typeface list in Font settings.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search


    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.